14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
a method of learning to "feel" and move in your artwork,
This review is from: The Natural Way to Draw: A Working Plan for Art Study (Paperback)I just finished taking a drawing course in which my instructor taught the same concepts that Nicolaides writes about: extensive gesture studies, blind contour drawing, modeling of the form with gesture-mass studies. Honestly, as I worked in class, I had very little idea of what these exercises were for (it would have been great to have had a hold of this book then). I have always been good at rendering figures in a hyper-realistic manner, but as one reviewer described student work at his school as "well rendered work, but its flat, uninspired, and repetative," my work had no life to it. What I found was that the more I practiced seeing and feeling my subject matter through these "scribble" drawings, the freer my line and hand grew, and the more presence I started to see in what I put on the paper.
If you want a method to help you learn to "feel" your work and move you beyond mere rendering, I highly recommend this book. But along with that desire should come a commitment to practice the exercises with an open mind if you want to get the results. I have learned for myself that having a lot of head knowledge about art techniques hasn't made my work vital, nor his it given me the itch in my bones that I need to truly create. Even though this may sound silly, I used to consider myself a good drawer, but now I feel that the door to being an "artist" is opened to me.
If you are more interested in a book to help you practice techniques with less of a time/effort commitment, I recommend Bert Dodson's Keys to Drawing. It is more of a "how-to" book for beginning students. It takes a very different teaching approach, more practical, but I like it for the many visual examples, the broad range of fun exercises, and the sections on drawing faces and proportions.